Getting all of your ski equipment together is one thing, but getting it up the mountain is something else entirely. If you carpool up to slopes with family or friends, that can become even more difficult because equipment can take up a considerable amount of space. I know I’m not the only one who’s been crammed in a car with a ski or a pole sticking in their back.
An easy solution to all of that hassle is a ski rack. By putting your skis on the outside of the vehicle, you save plenty of room for passengers and other gear. However, not all ski racks are created equal, and that’s the entire purpose of this post. We’ll outline some of the best ones below.
- Quick Summary
- Who Should Get This?
- Best Ski Rack for Car: What to Consider
- Best Ski Rack for Car: Our Picks
- 1. Best Overall Ski Rack – Thule SnowPack Ski/Snowboard Rack
- 2. Most Durable Ski Rack – Rhino Rack Ski Carrier
- 3. Best Budget Ski Rack – DrsportsUSA Car Rack Carrier Ski Car Rack
- 4. Car Rack & Carrier Ski Car Rack Aluminum Universal Ski Roof Rack
- 5. Most Secure Ski Rack – YAKIMA FatCat EVO Premium Ski and Snowboard Mount
- 6. Best Low Profile Ski Rack – INNO INA952 Gravity Universal Mount
- 7. Thule Snowpack Extender
- 8. Best Hitch Style Ski Rack – Thule Project Tram Hitch Ski Carrier
- Useful Tips & Resources
- Final Words
- One of the best ski racks is the Thule SnowPack Ski/Snowboard Rack. This is a well-built device that will last for years no matter how often you head to the snow.
- Another top option is the Rhino Rack Ski Carrier. This is tough and will keep your skis secure no matter what sort of driving conditions you find yourself in.
- A few good budget options that will still hold several pairs of skis are the DrsportsUSA Car Rack Carrier Ski Car Rack and the Car Rack & Carrier Ski Car Rack Aluminum Universal Ski Roof Rack.
- If you’re looking for an easy to install, high-quality rack that comes with a secure locking mechanism, the YAKIMA FatCat EVO Premium Ski and Snowboard Mount is a great option.
- The INNO INA952 Gravity Universal Mount is a low profile option that’s perfect if you only need to haul a few pairs of skis.
- The Thule Snowpack Extender is another well-rounded choice that features a unique design that slides out for easy install and ski removal.
- If you want a rack that’s easy to remove and that installs into the hitch of your vehicle instead of on top, the Thule Project Tram Hitch Ski Carrier is the way to go.
Who Should Get This?
Ski racks are an awesome accessory for any skier who lives near a resort or mountains with skiable snow. If you live in a ski town or within a few hours of a skiing location, these racks are a must-have because they will help you stay organized and allow you to cram more of your friends and family inside the vehicle. They are also a good way to keep your skis easily accessible and locked up while you’re parked.
Though all of the racks mentioned here are described as ski racks, they hold snowboards as well. You don’t have to get a different rack style to hold your boards (or your friends) around. I didn’t use a ski rack for years and then I accidentally broke one of my car windows loading by skis on a really cold and snowy day. It was a simple mistake but easily avoidable if I had a rack!
That being said, you don’t absolutely need a ski rack to haul your skis. If you own a larger car like an SUV or station wagon, your skis should fit easily in the back. A pickup truck will be able to comfortably hold them as well. Just be careful loading them up so you don’t scratch or break anything.
Best Ski Rack for Car: What to Consider
The first thing to consider when getting a ski rack is size. I’m not necessarily talking about the physical size of the rack itself (though that does matter) but rather how many sets of skis it can hold. There are multiple rack sizes out there, and you want to match yours to the number of skis and/or snowboards you plan on taking with you. Some of the rack options you’ll find here even have different sizes of the same model to accommodate your needs.
If you’re only going to carry one or two pairs of skis, you can get a smaller rack. If you want to be able to carry skis for everyone in the car, you’ll need a larger option that can hold up to six sets at one time. In my opinion, I’d go with a larger size even if you only ski with large groups in your car every once in a while. That just gives you more options.
There are several different ways you can mount a ski rack. Many cars are equipped with bars on top of the roof where a universal ski rack can easily and quickly latch on. That makes the universal mount style by far the most popular option. It’s also the most commonly available. If you have a car with standard roof bars, I would recommend getting a universal mount ski rack.
However, there are other options as well. Some cars don’t have the type of bars on the roof that I mentioned above. If yours does not, you might need to look at something that fits inside any affixed crossbar you might on the roof. Don’t be afraid to look at hitch style mounts that install at the rear of your vehicle into a hitch. If you don’t have either of these, you will probably have to get something installed in order to make a rack work.
Another major consideration when getting a ski rack is a locking mechanism that will keep your skis safe and secure while you’re away from your vehicle. This is extremely important because you never want to leave your gear unprotected. Luckily, most high-end ski rack options come with some type of lock to make sure your equipment stays put.
Most ski rack locks use a small key to lock the latch in place, preventing the skis from being removed while in the locked position. You need to keep track of this key or else you might end up with a decorative pair of skis (or three) on the top of your roof. I put the key on the same keychain as my car keys so I know where it’s at all times. I also make a copy in case it ever gets lost.
Always consider your ski rack’s durability when making a purchase. You’re going to be using the device in harsh winter conditions and it needs to be able to hold up and work flawlessly even when out in a blizzard. Ski racks also take a bit of a beating when you place the skis on the rack itself. Durability is important in this regard as well.
Every rack you’ll find here makes the list because of design characteristics that make them both strong and durable even in the face of the harshest conditions. If you’re looking at an option not listed above, be sure to check the rack is built with high-quality plastic, rubber, and metal so you can trust its durability time and time again.
Difficulty of Installation
If you purchase a universal ski rack, installation is quite easy. Most models don’t require any tools for the job and you can have the rack up and running in a matter of minutes. This is important to look out for if you’re not handy or don’t have easy access to tools. Some models require more effort and some need extra tools for the install. Check the instructions before making your final purchase.
When getting ski racks, cost is always a consideration. There are some pretty expensive options out there, and while that can hurt your wallet, they do tend to be more reliable than cheaper models. There’s nothing wrong with getting something a bit more budget-friendly, but understand that always comes at a price. They may not be as durable or last as long.
That being said, you can always find something to match your budget. If you’re in a pinch or can’t afford a new ski rack right now, you can always look online at used gear sites to see if a cheap option is available in your area.
Best Ski Rack for Car: Our Picks
1. Best Overall Ski Rack – Thule SnowPack Ski/Snowboard Rack
The Thule SnowPack Ski/Snowboard Rack is one of the best overall ski racks for your car. This is a well-made, nicely engineered model from the Swedish company Thule that’s been making quality car racks and storage solutions for years now. The SnowPack Rack lives up to that standard by providing you with reliable and cutting edge features. This rack is available in multiple sizes, and it can hold either four or six pairs of skis. There’s an extendable option too.
This model utilizes a universal mounting system that easily attaches onto the cross members of your car on top of soft-but-durable rubber arms that keep your skis secure at all times. It also has an oversized push button release with a built-in locking mechanism that’s easy to use with your gloves on. This is a durable rack that’s available in two color options if you want to match your car’s paint.
- Excellent design from a reputable brand
- Available in multiple sizes
- Universal mounting system
- Durable rubber arms
- Oversized push-button release
- Locking mechanism
- Multiple color options
- Somewhat expensive
- Rubber mounts can be subject to weathering
2. Most Durable Ski Rack – Rhino Rack Ski Carrier
If you’re looking for a rugged and reliable rack that will certainly keep your skis or board safe, take a look at the Rhino Rack Ski Carrier. This option utilizes a well-crafted design to hold your skis securely in place on the roof of your car. It’s available in four different sizes ranging from 10 to 27-inches. That means you can find an option that works for just about any car to match your specific needs.
This rack’s durability and strength are both outstanding thanks to a heavy-duty aluminum construction, as well as the built-in rust and corrosion resistance. It’s also easy to install as a result of the included mounting hardware. Other key features include a locking mechanism and a push-button release for easy entry and exit.
- Heavy-duty construction
- Multiple sizes available
- Easy install
- Rust and corrosion-resistant
- Locking mechanism
- Push-button open
3. Best Budget Ski Rack – DrsportsUSA Car Rack Carrier Ski Car Rack
You don’t have to spend an arm and leg on a ski rack to get a quality option. The DrsportsUSA Car Rack Carrier Ski Car Rack is an excellent budget device that will last a long time. This rack features a simple-but-effective design that’s able to carry up to six pairs of skis with ease. Even better, you don’t have to take the rack off in the summer because it can easily carry warm weather items like fishing poles and boat paddles.
This model features a universal mounting system that makes it easy to install in most vehicles. Wide cradle jaws are used to keep your skis firmly in place while you drive to the slopes, no matter the weather. It’s not the most durable option around, but it does come with a decent 1-year warranty in case anything comes up during the ski season.
- Standard design
- Universal mount
- Can be used for warm weather items
- 1-year warranty
- Only offered in one size
- Not the most durable option
The Car Rack & Carrier Ski Car Rack Aluminum Universal Ski Roof Rack is another great budget option ski rack for people looking to save some cash. This is simple in design but offers an effective solution to holding up to six pairs of skis. It has a durable aluminum construction that’s corrosion resistant as well. A universal mount, built-in lock and key, and one-button open round out this model’s excellent features.
- Fits up to six pairs of skis
- Durable aluminum construction
- Universal mounting system
- Locking mechanism
- Mourning system is bit more involved than other universal mounts
- Overtightening mount can damage the rack
5. Most Secure Ski Rack – YAKIMA FatCat EVO Premium Ski and Snowboard Mount
If you just got yourself a new set of skis and don’t want to risk them getting stolen, you need a secure ski rack. The YAKIMA FatCat EVO Premium Ski and Snowboard Mount is a model that will give you peace of mind in knowing that your skis will be difficult to remove when the rock’s in the locked position. That’s made possible by built-in SKS locks that are both reliable and effective.
This rack also has some other great features that make it stand out, including the ability to hold up to four pairs of skis as well as a double hinge joint that expands to easily fit even the fattest skis. The universal mounting system is easy to install and the OverHang clamp attachment makes it easier to reach your skis when you want to take them out of the rack.
- Excellent locking mechanism
- Universal mounting system
- Tool-free install
- Easy access with OverHang clamp
- Aerodynamic design
- Doesn’t hold many skis
6. Best Low Profile Ski Rack – INNO INA952 Gravity Universal Mount
If you only require a small rack for one or two pairs of skis, it’s hard to find a better option than the INNO INA952 Gravity Universal Mount. This is an awesome little rack that utilizes a nifty design to easily attach to your roof crossbars. The design features more of a clamp style than other wrap-around universal mounts, which creates an easy and effective way to securely keep the rack in place on the move.
- Excellent low profile option
- Innovative universal mount design
- Built-in locking mechanism
- Expensive for a smaller rack
- A little bulky
Some people may not enjoy getting their skis in and out of a traditional rack. If that’s you, don’t despair. There are other options, including the Thule Snowpack Extender. This interesting device isn’t just different, it may also make your ski season commute a whole lot easier. The slide-out design allows you to pull your skis away from the roof and much closer to you for easier access.
There are other features that make this a solid choice for a rack as well including a secure anti-theft locking design alongside an easy-to-install universal mount. It also has ultra-soft rubber arms so you won’t scratch or scuff your skis during transport and a large one-button release that can be used in bad weather with your gloves on. This is a great little rack with an awesome design.
- Sliding design makes it easy to access to your skis
- Universal mount
- Anti-theft locking mechanism
- Ultra-soft rubber arms
- One-button release
- Slide design adds extra weight
8. Best Hitch Style Ski Rack – Thule Project Tram Hitch Ski Carrier
If you don’t want to put a ski rack on the roof of your car, you certainly don’t have to. The Thule Project Tram Hitch Ski Carrier is designed to carry your skis in the rear of your vehicle by snugly fitting into the hitch. This design works on a number of different vehicles, but you do have to have a 1¼-inch or 2-inch receiver hitch for it to be compatible. If you do, the rack will vertically hold up to six pairs of skis.
This rack features two racks in one unit, but both have a locking mechanism to keep your skis upright, secure, and in place while you’re headed to the mountain. The rear design allows for easy access, which is an added bonus on cold days, and the one button release makes it even easier to get going with your gloves on.
- Hitch style design
- Easy access
- Two locking mechanisms
- Can hold up to six pairs of skis
- Durable design
- Hard to open rear door/hatch with rack in place
Useful Tips & Resources
While every ski rack has a different design, most of the roof mounted styles are somewhat similar. That makes for an easy install if the rack comes with a universal mount design. You rarely need any additional tools to get the rack attached to your roof, and you can be up and running in a matter of minutes. If you want to check out how to easily install that style, check out this quick video.
A ski rack can really make your life a lot easier when you’re trying to get up to the mountains. They allow you to quickly secure your skis to the roof or rear of your vehicle and you can rest assured that they will stay in place for the entire ride. If you want a high-quality rack, the options here will give you an easy way to protect and transport your skis.
Have you ever used a ski rack before? Would you recommend it to others? Let us know in the comments below!